MD Message April 2015
The past 6 weeks has been both rewarding but also a very sad time for Working on Fire as on the one hand we received praise from many quarters for the hard work and dedication of our fire fighters throughout the Western Cape fires season, but on the other hand we sadly lost some of our colleagues during this period.
The untimely deaths of Rofhiwa Nicholas Mphinyane after having been attacked by an elephant in Limpopo towards the end of March and Jastun Visagie (Helicopter Safety Leader) and Darrell Rea (pilot) during a helicopter accident whilst on fire suppression duty in the Western Cape on the 22 April, has deeply saddened us all in Working on Fire and the Kishugu Group at large.
We have extended our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and fellow colleagues within Working on Fire. In addition we will continue to provide grief and trauma counselling to their families and team members.
The Western Cape fire season has already been extended and as I write this message our teams have been battling a week long fire in the Bain’s Kloof Mountains between Ceres and Wellington. This is the same fire where our two colleagues lost their lives in the helicopter accident.
As we are about to enter the Winter Fire Season I urge all our fire fighters to remain vigilant whilst on the fire line and to exercise all the necessary safety precautions. I received positive feedback from all the provinces who recently completed their Yellow Card Training camps.
On the 27th April the country celebrated 21 years since our first free election and the birth of democracy in South Africa. South Africans joined in celebrating national Freedom Day across the country in reflecting on the achievements we have made as a nation. The Working on Fire programme has over the past 12 years also contributed significantly to the attainment of government’s commitment to broaden democracy by providing access to work opportunities. This has been achieved through the work opportunities which have been created through the Working on Fire programme.